What Can We Do? A Philosophical Analysis of Individual Self-determination

Analytica 5:57-78 (2011)

Fabio Macioce
LUMSA - Libera Università Maria S. Assunta
The principle of self-determination, as commonly intended, is based on a formal and individualistic view of liberty rights. This perspective, however, is inconsistent with the needs of a community, and particularly with the necessity to promote a relatively stable social order, and an integration between subjects. I propose a different perspective that takes into account the relationships rather than the individual. In particular, I will try to demonstrate 1) that any community implement a specific social order, that is a complex of practices; 2) that any social practices express specific values​​, 3) that these values ​​are the result of historical and cultural circumstances, 4) that they are subject to an ongoing public debate, and finally 5) that only if the individual praxis is consistent with these values ​​can it lead to recognition of rights. In that perspective does not exist a general liberty to determine itself, outside of a specific relational situation. It could only be affirmed that one has a practical liberty to do and to act as it wants, but its rights depends on relationships in which the person is engaged.
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